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HAPPY (ALMOST) BIRTHDAY, LOUIE THE UNICORN

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

HAPPY (ALMOST) BIRTHDAY, LOUIE THE UNICORN

I love birthdays. I particularly love book birthdays. And this time next week it will be the first birthday of my ‘Unicorn in New York’ series with OUP. The first book came out this time last year and I can’t tell you how fond I’ve become of Louie the Unicorn. I liked his dementedly optimistic personality from the minute it entered my head, and when I saw Louie brought to life in Oscar Armelles illustrations I fell completely in love with him, in both fictional and knitted form.   He arrived with a bang last year with  parties in several different continents,...

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WHAT BOOKS DO AUTHORS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

WHAT BOOKS DO AUTHORS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

“♫ ♪ We wish you a merry Christmas We wish you a merry Christmas We wish you a merry Christmas And a Happy New Year. ♫ ♪”     I adore this time of year. It was my birthday yesterday (Christmas Eve), it’s Christmas Day today, and it’s my anniversary on New Year’s Eve. So, as well as all the other lovely things that come at this time, this is also a gift-tastic kind of week. And my favourite presents to unwrap are always the book-shaped ones. There are eleventy billion books I’m hoping to find under my Christmas tree, but the one I’m particularly hoping for is ‘The Song from...

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STANDUP IN A SCHOOL (OR HOW I SCARED MYSELF STUPID)

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

STANDUP IN A SCHOOL (OR HOW I SCARED MYSELF STUPID)

Regular readers of this blog might remember that in August I put up a post called ‘DARE’, where I talked about the latest challenge I’d given myself – to perform a stand-up comedy show in a school before the end of the year. Well I did it! And it happened almost by accident. Because while I was minding my own business, writing about mermaids and trolls and clumsy unicorns, I got an invitation to be the support act for a brilliant local comedienne – Dubomedy’s Mina Liccione. I had a bit of a wobble when she explained it was ‘for 500 students and teachers,’ but it was impossible to say...

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THOUGHTS ON SCHOOL VISITS

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

THOUGHTS ON SCHOOL VISITS

Hello. My name’s Rachel and I’m a school visit-oholic. School visits are one of my favourite parts of being a writer – they contain all the bits of teaching I used to love without the stress, or the marking, or the slightly intense parents. Since my first book, The Case of the Exploding Loo, came out, I’ve done around a hundred school visits and I have loved every single one. However, during the course of these visits, I’ve noticed a few things schools can do (or avoid doing) to make author visits even more fun-packed and hassle-free. I was asked to make a note of them recently, for a chat...

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DARE

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

DARE

  A gazillion years ago I had a job in advertising. One of the mantras of the ad agency I worked in was ‘The good is the enemy of the great’. I heard that so often while I was working there I got a bit eye-rolly about it. But every so often I remember and it makes me think. It’s easy to settle for the ‘good’ and the ‘nice’. A life lived like that can be pleasant and calm and unstressful, but also a teeny bit dull. To really live life I think you have to take a few risks, say yes to things you’ve never tried, accept challenges, and occasionally scare yourself stupid in a quest for...

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WHAT MAKES KIDS LAUGH?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

WHAT MAKES KIDS LAUGH?

Kids love to laugh.  Everyone knows that. So, how hard can it be to bash out a book that makes kids’ giggle? As an author of funny (I hope) books for under 12s I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me they have a formula for writing a bestselling children’s book. It usually goes something like this –  burping + bogeys + poo + underpants = instant hit.   I’ll confess, each of those four elements has popped up at least once in my books. But until you sit down and try and write for this age group it’s hard to grasp how tricky it can be to keep it funny, no matter...

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How does it feel to finish a book?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

How does it feel to finish a book?

This morning I finished the third book in my ‘Unicorn in New York’ series (illustrated by Oscar Armelles). (These are the first two covers. The third is still in development, but looks fantastic so far) So, I’ve finished! Whoop. Typing THE END is always a magical feeling, but it’s also a slightly strange sensation. This may be partly down to the fact there’s none of the firework-bursting, cork-popping, crowd-cheering sense of occasion you get with other creative jobs. No one calls you on stage to take a bow like they would an actor. No one throws their pants at you like they would a...

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Author School Relationships

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Author School Relationships

One of the best things about being an author are the school visits. I used to teach English and Drama and while I have to confess I don’t miss the marking, the admin or the data driven side of the job, I HUGELY miss the storytelling and silliness. I used to love chatting with students about stories and ideas and the power of imagination. So I’m grateful my books give me the opportunity to muscle my way back into schools across the UK and the UAE. I’ve done over a hundred author events over the last three years and I’ve loved every single one. Yes, that includes the one...

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Preparing for Launch

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

Preparing for Launch

My third book, Unicorn in New York: Louie Lets Loose!, is released on February the 4th and I’m a bit excited. So excited, in fact, that I can’t think of anything else to write this month’s blog about. So unicorns it is. Since I’m completely unicorn-headed (my horn’s in the post) I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ll be up to in the weeks before the book comes out. Obviously the most important thing to do is organise the party. The best thing about living in two countries is I can have two celebrations. I am having a UK party in Lincolnshire, where...

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Favourite Christmas Gifts

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Favourite Christmas Gifts

So today is Christmas. Yesterday was my birthday. And I have been so busy stuffing myself full of mince pies and ripping open presents I haven’t had time to write the usual wordy blog. So I decided to make this more of a visual post by sharing some of my favourite ‘gifts’ from 2015: 1 The gift of living in a place that inspires me I spend half the year in the Middle East and I love going out to the desert and telling stories around the campfire. It’s the best source of writing ideas – if I don’t come up with my own, I can always steal them from the kids 2...

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Book Covers

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Book Covers

  I’m very excited. I’ve just seen the cover for the first book of my new series, Unicorn in New York: Louie Lets Loose! There it is. Just up there ^^^. I love it. It won’t be on the shelves for another three weeks, but I couldn’t wait to share it because I think it’s gorgeous – for which I can take absolutely no credit but I’ll probably try to anyway. People often ask me about ‘how’ books get illustrated. In my experience, it varies. For my last two books (The Case of the Exploding Loo and The Case of the Exploding Brains) the words came first, and then...

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A Vote For Silliness: Emirates Woman of the Year Awards 2015

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Vote For Silliness: Emirates Woman of the Year Awards 2015

Recently, I was asked a question that completely stumped me: ‘So, tell us, Rachel, why do you think people should vote for you?’ Hmmm . . . I honestly didn’t know. I’ve been nominated – to my delight! – in the ‘Artists’ category for the Emirates Woman of the Year Awards. And I was chatting away happily during the post-announcement interview, until this final question. Why should people vote for me? There were women nominated in other categories who were fighting against child abuse, women who were working to bring care packages to people in need. Why on earth would anyone vote...

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Is it possible to take a holiday from writing?

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Is it possible to take a holiday from writing?

After a brilliantly busy fifteen months following the launch of The Case of the Exploding Loo and The Case of the Exploding Brains, I’m having all the fun this summer with a month-long road trip along the west coast of America. I’ve just finished the edits for the first book in my new series, Unicorn in New York, and my other deadlines aren’t looming too intensely. So, if I fancied it, this trip would be the perfect opportunity to take a month’s holiday from writing. The question is whether it’s possible for me (or any writer) to enjoy a month that’s not spent scribbling away. It all...

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Bookshelves: How Do You Like Yours?

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Bookshelves: How Do You Like Yours?

“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.” Alan Bennett. Confession time: the first thing I do when I enter anyone’s home is check out their bookshelves, fixing my head at a slightly unnatural angle so I can scope the shelves while I pretend to be listening to whatever they’re saying to me. Many of my favourite friendships and relationships began as a tingle on the back of my neck while I looked through their book collection. As well as being intrigued by the books people go for, I’m...

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Stand (Up) and Deliver

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Stand (Up) and Deliver

Recently, as well as the usual book writing, family entertaining, event organising and school visiting shenanigans, I’ve also been doing comedy shows across the UAE as part of the Funny Girls Stand Up Tour, to encourage breast cancer awareness in the Middle East. Doing these stand up gigs has been fun and has raised lots of money for a good cause. But it has also scared my pants off.  It’s terrifying standing on stage, in front of hundreds of people, knowing you could be about to die horribly. (On a side note – why are all the verbs to describe stand up so violent? Even when you do...

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